Chasing Djinns: Explore Firoz Shah Kotla

Editors posted on 12 November

Shortcut

Firoz Shah Kotla is the last surviving relic of the Tughlaq dynasty {Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s legacy}- a baoli {step well}, a mosque, pillared halls, an Ashoka pillar, and palaces that have now been reduced to mere boundaries and walls.

Take a trip back in time

Firoz Shah Tughlaq built a beautiful complex in Delhi that corresponds with his own character. Quiet, rising magnificently from the rumbling structures around it—much like Tughlaq, who rose softly, but resolutely, to power after his cousin Muhammad Bin Tughlaq’s death—emerges the Firoz Shah Kotla complex. This spot has become one of the city’s most notable {and haunting} historic spaces.

The Djinns

Though much of its tangible grandness has vanished with passing time, the royal air has refused to diminish. The mosque, the walls of which have now completely disappeared, remains one of the most surreal places of worship – for it is the djinns who are worshipped in this mosque. The mystic djinns simply cannot be curtailed in idols or graves and hence, their presence is marked by painting a small portion of the walls black. As one roams the hallways of the complex, one stumbles across many such painted djinns on the wall, often with a follower muttering prayers to them.

There is a smattering of Kites seen around the area- swooping dangerously close to humans as if to make it absolutely clear that they are the real and the only absolutes of Firoz Shah Kotla now.

Here are some photographs of Firoz Shah Kotla that attempt to capture the grandness that is often forgotten by this city.

The Archeological Survey of India has made great efforts to do justice to the complex with clear directions and insightful information boards next to the structures. Do stop and read them to understand how and why the complex was built.

A sprawling garden and ancient structures make Firoz Shah Kotla a charming spot to spend winter days. Not only that, landmark plays have been performed in this complex, including Ebrahim Alkazi’s epic portrayal of Dharamvir Bharti’s Andha Yug.

The mosque attracts many believers and nonbelievers everyday, but the complex is particularly crowded on a Thursday, when many come to appease the djinns and to offer them milk and flowers.

The stone steps of the entrance leading to the mosque. Ironically, this is the only structure that is left erect in the mosque while all the rest, including the graves, have been broken down and partially razed to the ground.